Addressing the Big Data and Analytics Talent Gap

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The Canadian Electricity Association (CEA) is pleased to have supported the development of a paper from Ryerson University, Closing Canada’s Big Data Talent Gap. The paper includes the results of the first in-depth examination of the size and nature of Canada’s Big Data and analytics talent gap, and suggests a path forward to address the shortcomings.

“The Canadian electricity sector uses Big Data from things like smart meters to manage customer load demands, to improve energy efficiency, to assist in performance improvements and contribute to better business decision-making,” said the Hon. Sergio Marchi, CEA President and Chief Executive Officer. “It is necessary to have analytics professionals to support the development of Big Data which help improve the electricity system, equipment performance, and operational efficiencies, as well as enhancing employee safety and customer satisfaction.”

The Ryerson University paper asserts that Canada’s overall shortage of talent can be estimated at between 14,000 to 19,000 professionals with deep analytical skills, and 150,000 data literate managers and analysts. CEA advocates for industry-wide collaboration to address talent retention and recruitment strategies and initiatives. CEA also champions the development of collaborative Big Data and Analytics Centre of Excellence as an effective strategy to optimize and increase the pool of available talent.

To chart the path forward, the Ryerson University paper proposes a few next steps that industries need to look at, including working in collaboration with academia and government to develop skills early on; leveraging internal talent and build programs to enhance existing skills; and establishing common professional definitions to address clarity of the needs within all industries to foster cross pollination of talent pools.

CEA has an Analytics Program, the only national forum with three working committees focused on the reliability of generation, transmission and distribution of electricity that are actively involved in data collection and governance, the presentation of best practices and lessons learned, and dedicated to performance improvement. For more information about the CEA Analytics Program, please visit: www.electricity.ca/analytics.

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